Quick and easy meals and snacks for toddlers with multiple food allergies
When my kids were little they had all sorts of food allergies. It was a very good thing they didn’t go to preschool and I didn’t work because I had to make everything from scratch, and since they were allergic to different things I had to make something different for each of them. It was also necessary for me to buy all meats and eggs organic due to their reactions. (They now take food enzymes which eliminate most of the negative side affects, i.e. Esther no longer immediately throws up when she eats corn and rice, though it does not solve the food dye/preservative thing, nor do they help Rachel with her much severer food allergies to citrus, tomato, apple, and cinnamon, dyes and preservatives.)
Rachel was allergic to soy, wheat, dairy, peanuts, kamut, rye, millet, citrus, tomatoes, not to mention various fruits and veggies and all food dyes and preservatives and could only eat organic meat.
- Esther was allergic to corn, rice, teff, chick peas, millet, rye, barley, potatoes, various other fruits and veggies, food dyes, and preservatives.
- Issac was allergic to cows milk, goats milk, corn, wheat, corn, soy, citrus, plus a few other things I can’t remember, and food dyes.
*There are other grains that each struggled with but it has been about 5 years so I am not remembering each and all the reactions–mostly they were digestive issues or hyperactive issues but Esther and Issac also struggled with severe eczema and being spacey due to the constant pain of it when we did not eliminate these foods.
I explain all this so you see where I am coming from. I did not make gourmet meals–there was no point, at least one kid couldn’t eat at least whatever I made so I learned to keep it simple, make pancake/cracker/cake style breads for each child a few times a week so we always had a grain each child could eat. I was feeding 3 kids under 6 who had expensive food allergies on a single income–there were no store bought cookies in our house. I also discovered quite a few new food combinations that are really good and which I wouldn’t have discovered if it weren’t necessary. It was… interesting. So now, hopefully, you benefit from what I learned. If you are looking for recipes that work for kids with multiple food allergies, especially recipes for dealing with various grains I heartily recommend Allergy Cooking with Ease: The No Wheat, Milk, Eggs, Corn, and Soy Cookbook though nowadays it is MUCH easier to get a hold of the foods I had to search for.
Side note--due to the nature of our family my recipes are all mix and match–you can adapt these quick meals to what your child can and will eat. I kept all of these things on hand and my kids would eat a combination of them. Now that we can eat more things we do have family meals but usually the kids get themselves very similar foods to what they ate when they were small.
frozen veggie pieces–my kids loved frozen peas and carrots and would eat them cold or cooked. They make a great finger food for little hands and are too small to choke on. I would also make a stir fry with these and organic burger, tuna, or egg. The stir fry also is perfect for little fingers and though a bit messy, it is quick, and healthy and you can season it as you like. If your kids can eat it I found that canned veggie soup (the thick stuff that you are supposed to add water to, without adding the water makes a quick easy kids meal.)
egg–my husband and I are both severely allergic to egg but the kids aren’t so they ate a lot of egg. I would make a pudding from flavoring or squashed banana, sweetener (usually maple syrup, turbinado sugar, or stevia), tapioca starch (be careful it doesn’t boil), and several eggs. We also made pancakes with different grains for different kids (most grains do well as a pancake or cake even if they don’t work as a bread)–occasionally I would throw veggies in with the flour, or a bit of maple syrup. Change the number of eggs or the amount of flour to make different things–3 eggs, and a little flour makes a nice omelet or scrambled egg, add 1 cup -1 cup liquid-1 egg to make a pancake. More flour, some sweetener, and more liquid with baking soda and an acid (we couldn’t use baking powder due to the corn)= a cake, still more flour and sugar= a cookie. Addendum: While writing this the kids got nostalgic and asked for “eggy pancakes” as they called it. This time I mixed 6 eggs with one cup unbleached wheat flour and fried it in a skillet–all three gave it two thumbs up which is unusual nowadays–so I guess it was good.:)
carrot sticks–none of us were allergic to carrots so carrots got used a lot (still do). Usually raw carrots with a nut butter was the meal of choice. My kids can now eat peanut butter so now that is the dip of choice. It is quick healthy and very filling meal. If your kids can eat apple, banana, or pear these also work well with nut butter.
Homemade granola–I make granola in my crock pot so I can add what the kids can eat. They like theirs with honey, maple syrup, nuts ( chopped if they will be having it as cereal), dried fruit, carob chips. Now that they can have it with yogurt they prefer it that way.
Dried fruit–they have never been able to eat fruit roll-ups (unless I make them myself) but they love dried fruit. Instead of asking for candy at the store my kid always headed to the dried fruits–banana chips, papaya, mango, pear, all favorites.
Cereal–We didn’t do much cereal (it was too expensive and hard to find types they could eat though they ate TONS of puffed cereals). Nowadays this is a cheaper and easier alternative–Barbara’s Bakery, Envirokids, Trader Joes, Nature’s Path all have great options which make a nice, quick snack.
Baked sweet potato–two of my kids could eat white potatoes while the other and myself could only eat sweet–which is how we discovered that baked or fried sweet potatoes are incredible. I would slice a slightly baked sweet potato and quick fry it in olive oil. This was our alternative to French fried and potato chips, and a flavorful one it was.
I know there were more things but there are all I can remember at the moment.
Speaking of Envirokids and Trader Joes–you can now get relatively cheap quick, healthy foods for little ones through these two companies. How I wish Trader Joes had been around when mine were small, life would have been MUCH easier. Dye and preservative free are especially much easier to find than they were 10 years ago. Nowadays my kids love their cookies, granola bars, cereal bars, vegetarian sushi rolls (which are an awesome, easy to make meal that is VERY filling), cheese sticks, tortillas (we eat a lot of quesadillas–slice cheese, place on tortilla in skillet, place another on top, heat till cheese melts), and hummus wraps (we make our own and add a bit of wasabi, bean sprouts, and lettuce.)